P10.8B earmarked to feed undernourished kids in public schools, day care centers

DSWD Photo via Rappler

Congress has earmarked a total of P10.8 billion this year to help feed undernourished children in public schools and day care centers, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr., House appropriations committee vice chairperson, said on Sunday.

In the 2023 General Appropriations Law, Campos said the sums of P5.6 billion and P5.2 billion have been set aside for the School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP) and the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP), respectively.

The Department of Education (DepEd) handles the SBFP while the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) runs the SFP.

“The aggregate funding for the SBFP and the SFP this year is 46 percent greater than their combined P7.4 billion budget in 2022,” Campos said.

“We are counting on the twin targeted feeding programs to boost the nutritional condition of children from poverty-stricken households and improve classroom attendance,” Campos said.

Some 11.8 percent of Filipino families, or an estimated 3 million households, experienced involuntary hunger – being hungry and not having anything to eat – in the last quarter of 2022, according to a previous Social Weather Stations survey.

The SBFP provides nutritious food over a period of 120 feedings days to incoming kindergarten and grades one to six learners who are wasted or stunted.

Wasted children have low weight-for-age while stunted ones have low height-for-age.

The SBFP also targets pupils-at-risk of dropping out, indigenous people learners, and those from indigent families.

Meanwhile, the SFP feeds preschoolers in public child development centers and supervised neighborhood play, including those from households covered by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

The SFP supplies fortified meals and milk, including vitamin-enriched nutribun, five days a week for 120 days.